Letters of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda
21 October, 1975
Satsvarupa das Gosvami
My dear Satsvarupa das Maharaja,
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated September 29, 1975, and I have noted the contents with care. Concerning your debate with the professor who claims that if God knows everything then His foreknowing makes men very much like puppets or machines.
Persons who think of God like himself has no knowledge of God. He immediately becomes a mudha, fool rascal. Avajananti mam mudha [Bg. 9.11] . . . God is omniscient and omnipotent. He knows everything what is going to happen. Therefore to save the living entity from future calamity He says, sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]. . . So although He knows what is going to happen in the future, He can cancel all that was going to happen by His Grace, that is God’s omnipotency. For a devotee, the future destiny is changed as confirmed in the Brahma-samhita:
“Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the original Personality of Godhead, Govinda, Who regulated the sufferings and enjoyments of fruitive activity for everyone—from the heavenly King Indra down to the smallest insect (indra-gopa). That very Personality of Godhead destroys the fruitive karma of one engaged in devotional service.”
So anyone who surrenders to Krishna, his destiny is changed by the omnipotency of God. He takes charge of the devotee and guides him how the devotee can go back to Home, Back-to-Godhead. This is the Mercy of God. He knows everything and still He says “sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam braja . . . [Bg. 18.66]” But, you are thinking God like you, what is destined is going to happen and even God cannot change it? Then God is impotent? This is their version, not God’s. God says surrender to Me and I shall cancel all your destiny, aham tvam sarva papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah . . . God will save you from the destiny that you have created by misuse of your independence. He knows but still He is so kind. Surrender has nothing to do with your destiny, that will depend on you (the spirit-soul) because you have a little independence, a little freedom. Theirs is atheistic argument. God is not only omniscient, but also Almighty. Predestiny is there but it is cancelled if you surrender to Him, otherwise God is not the controller. Theirs is like karma mimamsa philosophy, that God is our servant and He must reward me according to my activities. If you surrender to Krishna there is no more predestiny. He knows if you do this you must suffer, so why do you suffer. You take His advice. Even if he says predestined, so why don’t you surrender to Krishna now, and get out of this material condition.
Concerning our use of analogy. We do not bring in imperfect analogy, but we follow the instructions of the Sastras strictly. Our authority is on the basis of Sastra, not analogy. So, Vyasadeva while giving the history of creation says “Janmadyasya . . . adhikavaye’‘ . . . so He impregnated the heart of Brahma with all the designs of creation. So what is wrong there? If I instruct someone you do like this, and he does it, then what is the difficulty? This is the system. Our authority is sastra. We give analogy for the general mass of people who have no faith in sastra. Analogy is not proof; sastra is proof. Foolish people cannot understand or accept, so we use analogy. The conclusion is not drawn from the analogy but from the sastra. We don’t use a combination of logic and authority, we use authority. Logic we use to convince someone who doesn’t accept the authority. The basic principle is authority. Vedas say that cowdung is pure and we accept it. There is no logic, but when we practically use it we see that it is correct. The logic of using analogy is called in the sastra “śākhā candra nyaya.” It is easier to focus on the moon through the branches of a tree. The moon is great distance away, and you say that it is just through the branches. So you can focus more easily on the moon because 2 points joined make a straight line. So focusing on the nearby object helps us to focus on the far-away object. This is the use of analogy.
So there is no question of stagnation in Krishna Consciousness. Krishna is unlimited. The more we advance in Krishna Consciousness, the more we understand about Him. We cannot finish the process of understanding Him. The little more that we advance, we see still that He is far away. Even Krishna couldn’t understand His position in relationship to Radharani, therefore, He took the position of Radharani to understand Himself as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
I hope that this meets you in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami